Category: History

James Larkin’s fight for equality

January 21, 1876, James Larkin was born to a poor family in Liverpool Ireland. Coming from a poor background, he did not have proper education. He dropped out of school to help his family. He did his share of odd jobs before becoming the foreman at Liverpool Docks. After working for different employers, James Larkin came to conclusion that the pay they got did not do justice to their labour.

His passion to see employees get fair pay led him to join the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). There he fought for fair pay and good working conditions full-time. He organized union strikes to make employers pay attention to employees’ grievances. However, his radical methods made the NUDL uncomfortable. As a result, he was transferred to the office in Dublin.

While at Dublin, James Larkin founded his first trade union, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. His aim in founding this union was to give both skilled and unskilled workers a voice. The trade union demanded that the government legalise working hours to be 8 in a day. He demanded for Nationalization of all transport systems. He also demanded that all employees above 60 years of age on a pension plan.

He later formed the Irish Labour party. The most memorable strike he led under this party was the 1913 Dublin Lockout. Mr Larkin led over 100000 workers in a strike that lasted 8 months. Eventually, the workers won and the conditions they demanded were met. At this time, he has a large following despite the media not liking his activities.

James Larkin encouraged employees to spare factory facilities. He realized that if they destroyed the facilities because of poor pay, party members would not have a place to go back to. This way, Mr Larkin was able to fight for good working condition while preserving employer facilities. He used sympathetic methods such as boycotts.

When World War I broke out, he held demonstrations in Dublin in effort to bring it to a stop. James Larkin was a strong believer in communism and fought for fairness for all.